Pressure-cooker bombs suspected in Boston blast

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Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. The bombs that ripped through the Boston Marathon crowd appear to have been fashioned out of ordinary kitchen pressure cookers, investigators and others close to the case said Tuesday. AP PHOTO/THE BOSTON GLOBE, JOHN TLUMACKI

BOSTON—The bombs that ripped through the Boston Marathon crowd appear to have been fashioned out of ordinary kitchen pressure cookers, packed with nails and other fiendishly lethal shrapnel, and hidden in duffel bags left on the ground, investigators and others close to the case said Tuesday.

President Barack Obama branded the attack an act of terrorism, whether carried out by a solo bomber or group, and the FBI vowed to “go to the ends of the Earth” to find out who did it.

Scores of victims remained in Boston hospitals, many with grievous injuries, a day after the twin explosions near the finish line of the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon killed three people, wounded more than 170 and reawakened fears of terrorism in the US. A 9-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy were among 17 victims listed in critical condition.

Officials found that the bombs consisted of explosives put in common 1.6-gallon (6-liter) pressure cookers, one containing shards of metal and ball bearings, the other packed with nails, and both stuffed into duffel bags, said a source close to the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still going on.

Pieces of black nylon

At a news conference, FBI agent Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston, confirmed that investigators had found pieces of black nylon from a bag or backpack and fragments of BBs and nails, possibly contained in a pressure cooker. He said the items were sent to the FBI for analysis in Virginia.

DesLauriers said that there had been no claim of responsibility for the attack, and that the range of suspects and motives was “wide open.”

Throughout the day, he and other law enforcement authorities asked members of the public to come forward with any video or photos from the marathon or anything suspicious they might have witnessed, such as hearing someone express an interest in explosives or a desire to attack the marathon, or seeing someone carrying a dark heavy bag at the race.

“Someone knows who did this,” the FBI agent said.

FBI agents searched an apartment in the Boston suburb of Revere. According to one law enforcement official, the tenant had been tackled by a bystander, then police, as he ran from the scene of the explosions. But the man may simply have been running away to protect himself, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release details of the investigation.

The bombs exploded 10 or more seconds apart, tearing off victims’ limbs and spattering streets with blood, instantly turning the festive race into a hellish scene of confusion, horror and heroics.

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard of Boston, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell of Massachusetts, and a third victim whose name has not been released.

Graduate student 3rd victim

Boston University said a graduate student at the school was the third victim. In a statement late Tuesday afternoon, the school said it was not releasing the name or any other information about the student, pending permission from the family.

The statement said the student was with two friends who were watching the race at the finish line, not far from the university’s campus. One of the friends, also a grad student at the university, was injured and is at Boston Medical Center in stable condition.

Doctors who treated the wounded corroborated reports that the bombs were packed with shrapnel intended to cause mayhem.

“One of the sickest things for me was just to see nails sticking out of a little girl’s body,” said Dr. David Mooney, director of the trauma center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, all four amputations performed there were above the knee, with no hope of saving more of the legs, said Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery.

“It wasn’t a hard decision to make,” he said. “We just completed the ugly job that the bomb did.”

Security stepped up

In the wake of the attack, security was stepped up around the White House and across the US Police massed at federal buildings and transit centers in Washington, critical response teams deployed in New York City, and security officers with bomb-sniffing dogs spread through Chicago’s Union Station.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged Americans “to be vigilant and to listen to directions from state and local officials.” But she said there was no evidence the bombings were part of a wider plot.

Pressure-cooker explosives have been used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, according to a July 2010 intelligence report by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department. One of the three devices used in the May 2010 Times Square attempted bombing was a pressure cooker, the report said.

Investigators said they have not yet determined what was used to set off the Boston explosives. Typically, these bombs have an initiator, switch and explosive charge, according to a 2004 warning from Homeland Security.

“We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime, and we will do everything we can to bring them to justice,” the FBI’s DesLauriers said.

Pressure-cooker explosives have been used in international terrorism, and have been recommended for lone-wolf operatives by Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen. But information on how to make the bombs is readily found online, and US officials said Americans should not rush to judgment in linking the attack to overseas terrorists.

Pakistan Taliban denies

The Pakistani Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the 2010 attempt in Times Square, has denied any part in the Boston Marathon attack.

Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen gave a detailed description of how to make a bomb using a pressure cooker in a 2010 issue of Inspire, its English-language online publication aimed at would-be terrorists acting alone.

In a chapter titled “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom,” it says “the pressurized cooker is the most effective method” for making a simple bomb, and it provides directions.

Naser Jason Abdo, a former U.S. soldier, was sentenced to life in prison last year after being convicted of planning to use a pair of bombs made from pressure cookers in an attack on a Texas restaurant frequented by soldiers from nearby Fort Hood. He was found with the Inspire article.

Investigators are combing surveillance tapes and pictures from the Boston attack and appealing to the public to turn over personal photos and video that might yield clues.

“This is probably one of the most photographed areas in the country yesterday,” said Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis. He said two security sweeps of the marathon route had been conducted before the bombing.

Boston police and firefighter unions announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to arrests.

Clueless

Obama said officials do not know who carried out the attack or why—”whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual.”

But he said “any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror.” And he declared: “The American people refuse to be terrorized.”

Obama plans to travel to Boston on Thursday for an interfaith service, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said.—Eileen Sullivan

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  • $26149191

    Pressure cooker that made in China?

    • tarikan

      Yes, same pressure cooker the Taliban (Pakistani or Afghan) used to tenderize their pork. They don’t want to use these American/German/French/British even Japanese types of pressure cooker because they don’t disintegrate even if packed with explosives. Chinese made pressure cooker easily breaks into pieces even with just firecrackers.

      • China_Lee

        Good observation. In Afghanistan explosives are made in China, IED that killed many Americans are trained by Chinese in Pakistan.

      • Guest

        Taliban are extreme muslims..They don’t eat pork..

      • hu_yu

        they eat pork disguised as vegetable

      • Magsasaka

        how hypocrite they don’t eat pork and yet they eat pekpek

      • Guest

        Etude grins…You are right…

      • tarikan

        Can’t you see sarcasm when you see one? I say “pork” to spite them.

      • Guest

        Sorry my friend..my fault..I get sometimes carried away.

      • virgoyap

        Do Pakistani or Afghan Taliban eat pork?

      • tarikan

        Can’t you see sarcasm when you see one? I said “pork” to spite them.

    • China_Lee

      It is a lesson for America for importing China’s products. In New York many Chinese from China who runs online shop are selling substandard merchandize. Maybe some of it maybe contain explosives materials.

    • virgoyap

      No it’s made in the US so it’s more powerful.

  • Fulpol

    if that is simple to make… so everyone can make it…

    darn, who is now the suspect…

    • WeAry_Bat

      but the force of explosion seems to include a more powerful ingredient than the household variety, if i should guess, it must be dynamite or ah, google result came out, rdx.

    • dannyflorencio

      sana nilagay ng bomber ung bomba sa loob ng utak ni noynoy abnoy dami pang pilipinong natuwa sa kanya.

      • $26149191

        Ikaw lang cguro at si Glorya ang matuwa.

    • Guest

      It seems that there are 2 suspects now. They were filmed and carried bags, and ran away before the explosions..2 more devices were found..

  • Magsasaka

    so whatever happened to their super intel network?

    • JesseAngelo

      that’s useless when you’re dealing with your own random socio-pathic citizens. LOL

      • Magsasaka

        or it could be their own government because they want to push on some agenda such as anti-gun law

      • kalikasanipagtanggol

        They should ban pressure cooker now! LOL…..or run background check if you’re buying pressure cooker!

      • Magsasaka

        hehehe, correct

    • INQ_reader

      Good point. It never worked in Iraq. It never worked in Vietnam. It never worked against the Abu Sayyaf.

      • Magsasaka

        i think they are focusing on high tech explosives, they missed the improvised one

      • INQ_reader

        Correct. america’s intelligence is so intelligent, that they never thought of simple ideas

      • Crazy_horse101010

        inq stupity enternal

      • INQ_reader

        You must be Chinese. You copy my ideas.

  • INQ_reader

    Onli in the US of A !!!

    Ano pa hinihintay nyo…travel ban na!!!

    • Crazy_horse101010

      never happens here or in arabian countries inq stupity day 2

      • INQ_reader

        But those countries never interfere other countries, and claim that they are the world’s policemen.

  • ruthieem7

    Not all terrorists are from the Middle East. You never know, it may be from North Korea. They gave the latest threat to wreak havoc in US Mainland.

  • Benigno the Turd

    hopefully it will lead to the punishment of the terrorist.

  • virgoyap

    Like the 911 bombing it’s probably done by some deranged individuals with no other things in their minds but to kill people with their bombs.

  • $5699914

    Talk about random killing of soft-targets / innocent people by these evil-doers….
    These people want to take our compassion towards others….

  • crisostomo_ibarra_the3rd

    Mahuli kaya yang bomber chef na yan? Siguro naman parang sa Pinas na rin yang Boston na yan at marami na rin silang CCTV. They must have captured the mad bomber in one of those CCTVs.

  • boybakal

    Pressure-cooker bombs suspected in Boston blast….

    At least we filipinos still go the old fashioned way of cooking….
    Tungko, uling, panggatong at ihip.

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